The story does not follow the story line of Qubool Hai, I have just borrowed the characters, I own nothing but the plot line of this story.
The world of journalism is tough, not many are able to thrive in it. But Sanam and Aahil seem to beat all the odds, they are journalists and co-hosts of a prime-time news show, all before the age of 30. Co-hosts...or perhaps something more? A story of a unique relationship, two years in the making, at its culmination, is there love brewing behind the news desk? Or is everyone else seeing something that doesn't exist?
This story is a short story, so it will be around 6 chapters as of now, perhaps an additional epilogue, depending on how it goes while I edit the story, I have most of it complete since it is a variation of one of my previous stories for another forum.
"Sitting out here and staring at your phone is not going to help." My dad said as he sat down on the bench in the garden beside me.
"Yet you come sit here whenever there is something on your mind."
"No, I just follow your mother out here." He smiled, and it was true. I had lost count of the times I had found the two of them out here late at night, with a cup of coffee, cuddled together. The love that they had for each other was astounding and it made me smile every time I looked at them, they have been married for 26 years now, and Badi Ammi says that they are just as crazy and more in love than they ever were.
"You would follow her anywhere." I teased.
"Yes, to make sure she doesn't get herself into some kind of trouble."
"Ah, she seems to do that a lot." I laughed.
"So does your sister. I am glad you turned out normal." He teased. "You're way too much like me though." He sighed.
"Huh?" I asked, I had heard that sentence many times but never in that tone, the resigned sigh bothered me for some reason.
"You know that I took way too long to admit my feelings for your mother to myself and then even longer telling her. If I wasn't so, as your mother says, emotionally challenged I think we both could have saved ourselves a whole lot of heartache. Don't make my mistakes Sanam, I know you've realized that you love him by now, you wouldn't be like this if you didn't." He said looking at me.
"I-" I was going to deny it, like I always did but I couldn't today for some reason.
"You've been worried sick all week, you are practically glued to your phone and that beautiful smile that is always on your face is nowhere to be found." He pointed out.
"I am just hoping I don't hear any bad news." I shrugged.
"You won't." He reassured me, and I believed him despite knowing that he had no control over this situation, because he was Asad Ahmed Khan and he never made false promises.
Setting: Sanam's Office
"No, he hasn't called yet Ammi." I said to my mother over the phone the next day at work.
"Allah Miyah! What's wrong with him?" My mom and Seher yelled over the phone at the same time causing me to roll my eyes, they were wayyy too dramatic.
"Something is always wrong with everyone according to you Zoya." I heard my father say in the background with a hint of amusement in his voice.
"Allah Miyah, what's wrong with you Mr. Khan?" My mom yelled probably looking at my father, I could imagine her rolling her eyes right about now.
"Ammi, I really have to get back to work now." I sighed.
"Awww baby, I am sure he is okay. Don't worry all right?"
"You can jump him as soon as he comes back-" Seher started to say.
"SEHER!" Dad said aloud, I could imagine the condescending look on his face right about now too, ah, parents.
"Okay. Bye guys, I love you." I said hanging up the phone and looking to the papers in front of me debating if it was ethical to run this story, if the decision was solely based on me I would have trashed it by now. But life wasn't that easy, my producers would have a field day with this. I suddenly missed my co-anchor, I was so used to bouncing these ideas off him.
There were two parts to my job and I never liked the two of them at once. I was either the news anchor, which let me not think and just sit in front of the camera and tell people what I was told to tell them and then there was a journalist, the part I loved on most days - going out and finding a story, tying up the loose ends, talking to people and getting their story out to the world. The former was rather bland but necessary and sometimes fun, the latter was interesting and motivating but sometimes it made you want to rip your own hair out.
When I first started out in the field I was so sure that I wouldn't follow the heinous examples set by today's media, I wouldn't force a grieving person to talk to me when they were clearly in no mood to say anything but the real world didn't work like that. In the real world you had people working over you, your producers and your bosses demanded that you get capture the grief in such a way that it would make people cry and increase ratings and if you don't do it then you're out the door and someone like you will be happy to replace you. I sighed throwing the article down, wondering if I should even think about it. Maybe I should have just followed in dad's footsteps and become an architect or a software engineer like mom, or maybe I should just help Seher design clothes.
"You know you are quite unobservant for someone who makes a living out of being observant." I heardhis voice. My head whipped up in shock and there he was, standing at my door, leaning against the frame. His hair was messy, not in the usual pulled back style he wore and I knew for a fact that he hadn't shaved in a week with the amount of stubble that adorned his face. But he was dressed like he always was, in a pair of khakee chinos with an oxford blue shirt tucked into them, the top few buttons were open, as always, exposing the perfect expanse of his, now tanned, chest.
"I've been standing here for the past five minutes." He said walking into my office and pulling out a chair across from me and picking up the file of my desk, he took one look at it and threw it in the garbage, somehow knowing that I wasn't going to expose a victim in this way before continuing on with his meaningless speech as I sat there still shell-shocked. "That was enough time for me to notice that they changed everything around here, I guess they really meant renovation when they said renovation huh. But hey your office is a shade darker than mine, I like this shade of grey better with the black and white furniture, want to switch?"
"You idiot!" I finally let out once the shock wore off. "When did you get back? How could you leave without saying anything? What's wrong with you? What's wrong with your face?" I asked noticing the deep gash on his right cheek.
"Woah woah woah. Here I thought that you would be crying because I am back and you can't hog the limelight to yourself anymore but I guess not. Be careful or I am going to start thinking that you care for me." He smirked.
"Ibrahim!" I screamed in agitation, grabbing the first thing my hand found and throwing it at him. He was lucky it was a rolled up ball of paper and not a stapler, like last time. He laughed when it flew past him and onto the floor.
"Your aim hasn't improved one bit Khan." He said, actually, if I threw a stapler and him and actually meant to hurt him I would have but he didn't need to know that.
"Aahil, seriously are you okay?" I asked again, he looked fine apart from that gash on his cheek, but his beautiful chocolate brown eyes seemed tired, they weren't full of the normal mischief that was always there.
"I'm fine, it's just a cut. I'll look better after I shower and shave, it's just been a long week. And before you start yelling and asking, I did text you before I left, we flew to the border right after the terrorist group contacted the officials, it happened over a span of two hours. I didn't even know what I was doing but the journalist in me was kind of working on auto-pilot mode, things got crazy with the bombings and then we somehow found them, the relief on their faces was quite..." He talked calmly like he was talking about what he ate for lunch, and it made my blood boil.
"YOU CAN'T JUST MARCH UP TO A TERRORIST GROUP AND ASK THEM WHERE THEY ARE KEEPING THE GIRLS AAHIL. YOU ARE SO LUCKY THAT YOU ARE ALIVE YOU IDIOT." I yelled, he didn't know how worried I was all week, especially when we lost contact with him after the first broadcast, he just disappeared for four days, I didn't know if he was alive or if he was lying dead somewhere. And for the first time in my life I learnt what it felt like to be absolutely helpless, I refreshed my phone every minute hoping and praying that there was some news of him, of anyone.
"Woah, chill Sanam. I am all right okay. You of all people know why I did it, we're journalists for goodness sakes, it's our life." He said nonchalantly. Okay, I understood why he walked into the middle of the field, he'd do anything for a story, and it wasn't the first time he'd done something reckless, he's broken into gun dealings, been held hostage and almost had his head cut off, it was what he did. He was reckless and crazy and it worked for him, Aahil Ibrahim, at the mere age of 27 was one of the most respected reporters/journalists in the field.
"Are you going to go on the show tonight?" I asked changing the subject.
"Why? Tired of reporting alone?" He smirked.
"Actually, no. I am quite enjoying the limelight and the huge desk all to myself, and Imran even says the ratings of the show have gone up, he's even thinking of giving us the 7-9pm time slot rather than 7-8pm." I informed him. Imran, our producer, had in fact said that the ratings of our show had improved but we both knew it was due to this idiot marching into the middle of nowhere with a cameraman and thus, we had access to a story that no other channel did.
"So the ratings are going to soar because your sexy co-anchor is back. I hope you haven't been sitting on my side of the desk again." He arched his eyebrow at me.
"Shut up and go make yourself look human." I said.
"All right, I should go home and let Dadi, Shaziya and Nazia know that I am alive and in one piece." He laughed.
"You haven't gone home yet?" I asked shocked. What the hell? He could have come in later and I knew for a fact that his grandma was at home worried sick. His sisters too, Aahil was practically a father to them since their parents had died when he was barely five. Everyone was worried sick about him, down to his cousin Rehan. Hell, even my mom was worried sick because Aahil had her wrapped around his finger ever since he became my colleague about two years ago.
"Uh...I had someone I needed to see." He shrugged. "What are we covering tonight?" He asked, he was deflecting the subject but I let him.
"The elections, what else?" I smiled.
"You've obviously got in touch with all the candidates and analyzed this from every side and have done days of research?"
"Yes, well one of has to be the responsible one, the fewer surprises the better." I replied.
"Ah, the surprises are the best part though."
"Yes, almost getting into a full blown fight with Members of Parliament while we are live on air is so exciting!" I said reminding him of last time.
"Yeah, but that was fun. No one wants to watch a carefully planned show with a script, they want the real stuff."
"What are you trying to say?" I said feeling like he was attacking me and undermining my ability.
"Not whatever you're thinking there, I know you're good at what you do, possibly the best in the business, so don't think I am attacking you. I am just saying that we should sway on the adventurous side Sanam."
"We don't ever agree on this, go home Aahil." I said from my desk.
"See you later scaredy cat." He said using his favourite nickname for me before walking out the door. I sighed and finally released my hand from the strong grip that it had on the chair. My hand was absolutely red, I flexed it a bit and it started to regain its normal colour. The urge to hug him as soon as he walked in the door today was too strong but I controlled myself, like always.
Our conversation was our relationship in a nutshell, he was daring, crazy and not the type to stay put and I was the exact opposite and that's why we worked. We got our 7-8pm slot because of the way we view things - always in two different ways. He always stuck with extremes and I played it safe, that was the basis of our whole show, we literally sit there for an hour, live and throw ideas at each other. The show also caused a lot of tongues to wag because people found it hard to believe that two people, fresh out of school, had their own show. Our producer believed in doing things differently though, he believed that the only people who could target the young had to be young themselves, hence, in a short time we'd both managed to accomplish something people take their whole career to accomplish.
We got to somewhat choose what we wanted to present and how we wanted to present it. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would have this position within a few months of leaving journalism school I would have laughed, but it happened. There was a catch of course, I had to work with him, Aahil Raza Ibrahim.
I really disliked him at first - he was arrogant and inconsistent. And I didn't know why he would be here when he was in all senses a business man, a venture capitalist, he partly owned every successful company in India, a fact that my father was very impressed with. And top of all of that he was the Nawab of Bhopal, everyone fawned over him, and I meant everyone from children, to grown women and men.
But I wasn't impressed, at all. We fought over anything and everything at first, he hated that I overanalyzed everything and I hated that he just jumped in headfirst. He loved to make fun of me and most times I didn't know if he was complimenting or being sarcastic when he said something nice to me.
It took a while but spending every weekday with him for the past 16 months had managed to turn our hate into respect and awe for each other. But I think I took it a step too far, because this week taught me a lot more than how brave and stupid he was, it showed me that I was worried about him to a point that was crazy, and the thought of something happening to him shook me to the core. I had feelings for him that went beyond friendship for a while but I didn't know they were this serious until he disappeared and now that he was back I felt that strange feeling in my chest loosen up a bit.
I was in love with him and I had been for a while but I wasn't going tell him that, he wasn't the type for commitment; he hadn't had a steady girlfriend, ever. He didn't even date anymore, I'd heard that he was quite frivolous when he was younger, but I had yet to see him with a girl in the past year and a half.
A new story. Yayyy! To think that only two days ago (and yestersay) that I've finally read the epilogue for both Appetance and Clueless. And I was thinking I'm gonna really miss this writer who writes so well..and poof! Here we are at yet another thread and another story!
Now coming to the story. Oh I love the story line you gave at the start! And it features all three couples, EXCITED.